Everyone makes jokes about getting along at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You know, like dealing with the political rants from your crazy Uncle Joe.
But in my family we are all pretty much on the same page politically and otherwise so that's not an issue for us.
Our issues, depending on the year and who's coming, have to do with food.
Like making sure there's at least one entree for the vegetarian(s). At least one nut-free stuffing. Extra turkey wings and necks because so many of us like those best.
Many families deal with food issues, and those become more important when someone's health is involved rather than if, say, someone prefers pumpkin pie to pecan pie or one particular turkey part or other.
Gluten problems have been front and center for a while now. Fortunately there are ways to handle this particular issue. There are loads of gluten free products on the market these days.
If your menu must consider foods for people who have gluten sensitivities/intolerance, have a look at this recipe for Spelt Stuffing.
Spelt is an ancient grain and it is related to wheat but is vastly different than the wheat varieties used for most breads. People with diagnosed celiac disease should not eat spelt, but apparently, most people with gluten intolerance don't have celiac disease and many find that they can tolerate spelt and spelt products.
In fact, that's how Spelt Right, a company that produces spelt breads, bagels, pizza dough and chips, came into existence. Beth George, its owner, discovered that her son has a wheat sensitivity but was ok with spelt. She then set about to create delicious breads including the artisan rosemary bread that I used to develop this recipe.
If you can't find Spelt Right breads and other items locally, but use spelt products regularly, you might want to alert your local market about them. I've tried several varieties including the cinnamon raisin bread, whole grain, etc., as well as a variety of the chips and bagels. All terrific products. Or go to the website and call to ask where you can find some.
If not, I've given alternate instructions on how to substitute. This recipe also works using classic wheat based bread.
Rosemary-Spelt Bread Stuffing with Hazelnuts, Apples and Dried Cranberries
- 12 slices Spelt Right Rosemary Spelt Bread (or 6 cups toasted spelt bread cubes plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large, tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds or hazelnuts
- 1-1/3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the spelt bread slices lightly and cut them into cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Add the apple and cranberries and cook for another 2 minutes. Spoon the mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the nuts and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the stock, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the ingredients in a lightly oiled casserole. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is browned and crispy.
Makes 6-8 servings